Scary Bullpen Moment, Steele Not Bad, Gomes Quick Hands, Morel Adjustment, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Scary Bullpen Moment, Steele Not Bad, Gomes Quick Hands, Morel Adjustment, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Watching the game with my son yesterday, talking about my good ole days of playing baseball, and he says, “So you played in, what, the minor leagues?” I was so tempted to start spinning a yarn …

  • There was a scary moment early in yesterday’s game when a then-unspecified issue in the Cubs’ bullpen had the medical staff out there and the game was briefly delayed. No one really knew exactly what was going on at the time, and it was certainly concerning.
  • We didn’t find out until much later that it turns out it was bullpen coach Chris Young feeling lightheaded and needing medical attention. He was taken to the hospital for evaluation, but David Ross later said everything is going to be fine (NBCSC). Hopefully Young will be back soon and no worse for the wear.
  • Both Justin Steele and Davis Ross saw what I saw yesterday: Steele pitched very well despite the rough-looking box score (Sun-Times). Steele got eight strikeouts on 13 whiffs, and didn’t walk anyone. Most of the damage came because of all the hits … and a defense that did him zero favors. It was one of the worst defensive games of the year for the Cubs, and that not only allows extra hits to fall in, but also extends innings, makes a pitcher use a different combination of pitches, makes him face batters more in the game, etc.
  • For his part, Steele did give up more hard contact than usual, and all three of the barrels went for extra bases (homer, homer, double off the center field wall). So even if the defense had been perfect, Steele likely still would’ve given up some damage. But you’re looking at two or three earned runs over 6+ innings, instead of five earned (six total) over 5.2 innings. Sometimes there’s a reason we look so closely at walks and strikeouts – it’s the stuff that’s a whole lot less subject to the fluke of what happens behind you.

Caleb Kilian, Matt Swarmer, Keegan Thompson and Justin Steele, who had a combined 41 career starts entering the series, each took his turn, to mixed results. Thompson’s six-inning, one-run outing in Wednesday night’s 14-5 win was the highlight. In total, the starters allowed 19 runs (16 earned) in 18 innings, a number somewhat inflated by Kilian, the club’s No. 5 prospect, who allowed seven runs (five earned) in 2 1/3 innings on Monday.

Cubs historian Ed Hartig unearthed that the last time the sum of starts for Chicago’s pitchers going into a four-game series was 41 or fewer was from April 27-30, 1903, in Cincinnati. Alex Hardy (who made two starts), Carl Lundgren and Jake Weimer had a combined 29 starts entering that series.

  • Yan Gomes probably earned himself a road suite with this one – watch the quick hands to save David Ross from a lump:
  • The hardest hit ball in yesterday’s game? Nelson Velazquez’s double up the line, at 111.2 mph.
  • This is a good joke (and Velazquez is actually up to 0.2 now!), but also says so much:
  • It was nice to see Chris Morel get a couple hits after a prolonged stretch of struggles – he’s likely in that zone where teams have found some ways to attack him (plus he was also having some good fortune early on, and that doesn’t last forever). In June, Morel is hitting .256/.290/.442/98 wRC+, and the strikeout rate has crept up to 31.9% in the month.
  • If you missed it, Ethan Roberts is going to need Tommy John surgery. It’s such a bummer, but I hope he does great with the rehab. From Cubs Pitching Coach Tommy Hottovy (Sun-Times): “We believe in him and really enjoyed getting to work with him early in the year. No matter what happens this year, the moment in the dugout in spring training when we told him he made the team is one of those things you never forget. He’s such a good kid. He’s going to come back from this great, and we still expect really big things from him in the future.”
  • What decade is this:
  • The Chicago Bulls kept their pick last night:
  • And added the top – to many, at least – undrafted player, too:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.